The first step when searching for information about a person is to decide how much information you want. This will have a major effect on where you look, because there are sources with brief factual information all the way up to full-length books with deep analysis.
If you need a full-length biography, read the section in the box to the right.
The sources listed on the following pages have briefer information, anywhere from a paragraph to several pages.
The second step in looking for biographical information is to focus your search. Many biography sources specialize in their coverage. Think about the following factors.
Why Is the Person Famous?
Many sources of brief biographies are dedicated to specific subjects, such as writers, scientists, politicians, etc.
When Did the Person Live?
Some sources only cover living people, some only dead, some are a mix. Also think about how long a living person had been famous. The more recent the person, the less likely it is they will appear in reference sources. Magazine articles and the web are probably going to be more useful.
Where Did the Person Live?
Some sources only cover Americans, some only non-Americans.
If you want an entire book about a person, you may want to checkout a book at the library. Public libraries usually have separate sections for biographies, but college libraries mix them in with the other books on a topic. For example, biographies of musicians will be in the music section.